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The Great Conspiracy That Doesn't Exist

by Michael Z. Williamson


Today, a disturbing trend became apparent to me.  If anyone else has encountered this, I’d like to hear from you.

I was in a superficial and small-talk based conversation, that delved for a mere moment into politics.  That moment was enough to drag us deeper, into computers and traces, and then to phones.

I joked that I often like to intersperse my phone conversations with phrases such as “assassination plot,” “Bush” and “next Tuesday.”

The lady said that she would never do such a thing, as she knew about the capabilities of the government to spy on us.  I replied that it was possible they were listening, and if so, they’d already know I joke about this.  It’s also possible that they’d like us to think they have that capability.  Besides, as a reservist, they undoubtedly have a file on me anyway (I’ve been interviewed at length, with credentials on the table.  This is normal, expected, and not a cause of worry for me.)

She then replied that she had “friends” who had “much higher clearances” than I do.  This is an odd statement, first because she has no idea what my clearance is, second because it sounds like both an attempt to legitimize herself using her possibly imaginary friends as a step, second like a psychological need to one-up me.  I should have left then, I suppose.  Apparently, her “friends” would be at risk if she made jokes like that.


I then commented on a disapproval of much of what this president is doing, as I disapprove of much of what most presidents do, but that I respect a man who at least doesn’t consult the polls before making a decision.  (HINT: this was a slam at Clinton.)

Her reply was that I wasn’t from Earth, Clinton was a great leader, etc.  Very well, we all have our opinions.  We disagreed on a point, and she then played her trump card to avoid having to make sense.  “Look, Mike, I don’t want to sit here and discuss conspiracy theories with you.”

Now, at no time have I ever mentioned a “conspiracy theory” around this woman.  That would be impossible, as I don’t believe in them.  Greed, corruption, stupidity, cupidity, common agendas, quest for power and thirst for false respect; these I believe in.  But that a group of people could orchestrate a national or global coup and not have a documentable leak somewhere?  No.

What her statement is, is a wish that anyone who disagrees with her is somehow deluded and incompetent.  I’m sure we’ve all seen this with anti-gun nuts.  To accept that one’s opponent has a valid point or a basis for common discussion legitimizes him.  This is a threat when one’s own basis and argument are illegitimate.  The instant defense is to ridicule one’s opponent, attempt to make him seem foolish and unworthy.  If this is accomplished, the threat of rational debate is avoided.  This is necessary, because rational debate will expose the flaws in one’s logic and postulates. 

As a professional psychiatrist observed here some time back, this is identical to the need of a delusional person to avoid contact with reality, lest the delusion be shattered.  It is identical, because in fact, the speaker is deluded.

Now, I frequently see invalid arguments from conservatives on various issues.  These stem from “because,” (not responsive), to “the Bible says so!” (inadmissible as evidence in laboratory or court, as it is a circular logic, no matter how great a book the Bible is).  It is only liberals, however (and not all of them, so please don’t accuse me of saying that), who I’ve heard rant in paranoid fashion.  Their own fears and inadequacies are transferred to the opponent, to avoid dealing with them.

I’m aware there are a small number of firearms activists who believe in various conspiracies to deny them their rights.  I respectfully choose to disagree.  The difference between them and the liberal nuts described above, however, is that the conspiracy theorists are that:  theorists.  There are postulates and supporting evidence for their claims.  I find it unconvincing, but the evidence does exist.  The liberal nuts have nothing to base their arguments on.  Their “defense” consists of a bigoted three-fold attack. First is that anyone who disagrees with them one iota by definition is “against” them.  The second prong is that the evidence for a conspiracy does not exist--not that it is unconvincing, but that it does not even exist.  This is insulting and fraudulent.  The third and final assault is that anyone against them is by definition a nut and a believer in the very debates regarding conspiracies they remain deliberately unaware of.

I can’t even begin to discuss the insanity of this position.  What is even more boggling is that these paranoids are taken seriously by many among the press, and among the populace at large.  They should by rights be ridden out of town on a rail, after a double-dipping of tar and feathers.

This is not an isolated incident.  In various debates, in various venues, the epithet “there are no black helicopters” has been thrown in my (and others) face.  I have never mentioned black helicopters in debate, and as a reserve member of the armed forces, I would have better technical knowledge of such matters than the (without exception) civilian accusers I face.  Since they have no qualifications to make a refutation of a statement I never made and would be better qualified to judge than they are, it is obvious that these statements are intended to incite – and damage my credibility. 

The danger here is that this is becoming a common attack.  Anyone who fails to eat the same liberal crap as the respondent is insulted and accused of being unstable, out of the mainstream, and by inference a threat to society.  The fact that most of “us” can quote the Constitution and are stated supporters of the nation (many of us are veterans and police, after all) is made irrelevant.  What is important for the sound bites to work is that we are seen as enemies of the people.  Yes, we are painted as a conspiracy.

And that, Readers, is exactly the technique used by Marx, Lenin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and others.  The agenda of the speaker is irrelevant; all that matters is that the opponent be made a fool.  The result is divisiveness and civil unrest, leading to mistrust and eventually to the ostracizing of the attacked party on a widespread basis.

Naturally, the above paragraph will be used by my opponents to claim I belong to a “group of nuts” worried about an “imaginary conspiracy.”  After all, I mentioned historical oppressors (who they momentarily forget were sociopathic mass murderers), I’m writing negative comments about them, and like all “conspiracy nuts,” I own guns.

Oh, are you under the impression this was about guns?  This debate, Dear Reader, was over the proposed drilling for oil in Alaskan wilderness.  Nor did I disagree with the concerns voiced over it. 

My crime?  My comment on which me being a conspiracy theorist depends?

“Many of the same people now rabidly opposing it thought it was a great idea a few years ago.  I wonder if they just don’t like Bush.”

Yes, Ma’am, I must be a conspiracy nut.

But I’m not the one with imaginary security-clearance holding friends who thinks my phone conversations are of interest to the government because I’m taking a class in ecological issues. 

Copyright 2001 by Michael Z. Williamson.  All rights reserved.  This article appears courtesy of  Please consult the author before making use of this article in other publications.  Other articles from the author can be found in his archive at


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